From time to time, I read with fascination about how talented the Igbo people are, but somehow choose not to nourish their God gifted talents.

I have read numerous articles on this subject. Some authored by Igbos and others authored by friends of the Igbos - the latest authored by Oluwole Osagie-Jacobs.

As I was reading the article, I found myself nodding in agreement at his views ranging from the old Igbo, the Biafra Igbo and the Igbo of today. I had warm feelings about the noble men (Nnamdi Azikiwe, Akanu Ibiam, Alvan Ikoku and Mbadiwe etc) mentioned in the article. These were brave strong ambitious Igbo men of the past and to this day, we are still yawning for their likes. I could not agree more with his insight. It was well written and articulated.

It’s common for me to debate within myself when I read articles that interest me. So I found myself doing the same with this article. Battering in my head back and forth asking when will the Igbo man get moved and want to do something about his plight.

One thing that rattles and probably will rattle me till death do me part is - what will ever make the Igbo man rise up and claim his place in history? What will ever make the Igbo man say enough is enough? What will ever make the Igbo man begin to work together for the betterment of its people? What will ever make the Igbo man stop being interested in individualism, bloated heads, useless chieftaincy titles, rhetoric and start being proactive in issues of importance?

As Osagie-Jacobs said, the Igbo man does not embrace those who tend to whip it as they see it. He wrote about descent in respect for our culture. He referred to where a young man could easily shout a "shut up" to an elder in our gatherings and how we embrace the evildoers. He also noted very correctly about the dying Igbo language. He referred to how we have abandoned our intellectual people, the Biafra war and all. I cannot begin to comment on all he said. I ask that you read it for yourself.

The Igbo have many shortcomings. Granted the Igbo are discriminated against in Nigeria, but our larger shortcomings come within us. Just look at how we cannot agree to present one candidate to represent us in the political arena. We have so many intelligent educated people yet we cannot agree to present one of them to represent our course.

At the end of the day, we all become the losers because the yaby-yaby man won. And as we know, the yaby-yaby man cannot represent our interest. He’s only there to enrich his already bulging pocket.

The Igbo’s tend to despise one another, we are overly jealous of others who are successful. We’re in this endless revolving door to self destruct. Take for instance, KIDNAPPING which seems to be the newest job of the young and restless in the Igbo land. How did kidnapping start? Without getting into the whole history, it is a known fact that it started with the Niger-Delta people and progressed to River State. Now, it has found it self to the Igbo land where evil seems to be condoned.

Where parents do not ask their children how they make money as long as they build them sky scrappers.

Where parents know for fact that their children are shady, but dance at the market place of their children’s success.

Where parents dance at churches and give false praise to God for having singled them out to enrich them.

Where parents Parade under the umbrella that God has answered their prayer to enrich them like that of the papa Emekas who happens to be a politician.

And of course, we all know what happens when one tries to compete with a Nigerian politician, right? You’ll sink like the Titanic because you could never have the dough the way they do. This is why you decided to terrorize innocent citizens of the Igbo land? Trust me, these parents know the real deal, they know for a fact that their son (s) is a 419 person.

It’s unfathomable how the villages have become a harlot laden with evildoers. We used to have righteous people lodged in it but now murderers.

The target for these non God fearing thugs are relatives of those who reside abroad namely – America. Except for monetary gain, what sense does it make to kidnap your own folks or any one for that matter? Why do you have to punish other Igbos’ for your misfortune?

The kidnappers have decided to challenge the government, the people and even God. When people become so arrogant that they become God fearless, they are doomed. God as we all know sees every thing and if you do not stop now and repent, he will place a curse on you so that you will never be redeemed.

You kidnap people in church service in full view of the congregation. You kidnap in broad daylight, you kidnap at the market place, you kidnap people from their own homes and you kidnap from anywhere you deem necessary. You do this because you have a gun and people scamper as soon as you brandish it.

The MISERY the Igbo’s are living with is astronomical. We have no one to go to for help. The police want you to rent them for their services. How in the world can we survive in this manner? We have become prisoners in our own homes.

Elderly people fear to come out of their homes for fear of being kidnapped. A friend of mine visited Nigeria few months ago. He told me of an elderly friend’s mother who came to visit him with lots of entourage. She stated to him that she was afraid of being kidnapped so she had all these people with her to protect her. It brought tears to my eyes.

My 80-year-old mother was kidnapped in April coming back from church on a Sunday. She was held for 28 days.

All these kidnappings make absolutely no sense. The ransom money they receive from this evil act is spent on materialistic things, pursuing women, showing off, buying cars, spending their time in hotels and living large as if they have worked for the money.

I’m PLEADING with these kidnappers to stop this brutal act. Our Igbo Nation should not continue to leave in fear. The hardship caused by this act is detrimental. Contrary to the belief that those living abroad are swimming in money, believe me, it’s not true. We, your brothers and sisters living abroad have to borrow money to bail our loved ones out and get saddled with debt for a very long time.

The leaders have decided to look the other way. Many of us living in foreign lands fear to come home. Just the thought of traveling to Nigeria makes us sick to our stomach. Before my last visit to Nigeria, my stomach was in battle with itself as if the US Army was shipping me off to Iraq.

We love our country VERY dearly, but we are equally afraid of what we may encounter. We want to bring our children home to see their motherland.

The other ethnic groups are laughing at us. My non Igbo friends are asking if we really know that we are only hurting ourselves and our economy. They have vouched not to take their businesses to the Igbo land. Aba, one of our most industrious cities has become a ghost town. Prominent people ran away to other cities because of kidnappers. Enugu is now getting back to its feet from kidnappers.

Tell me, how can the Igbo Nation survive or thrive in these circumstances? How did these people gain so much ground.

It used to be that the Igbo culture could not be dented, but if warnings are not heeded, the Igbo culture will go extinct not too far from now. We have become people who worship nonsensical people. We have become people who pull the dagger on those that speak out against wrong. We have become copycats of other cultures while abandoning ours.

We have become people who buy and give Chieftaincy titles to thugs. In some families, there are two or more Chiefs – you can figure them out yourselves. We have become people who look away to our diminishing culture. Take for instance; many Igbo kids born within Nigeria (Lagos, Abuja etc) do not speak the Igbo language. Every now and then when I call Nigeria on the phone, I find myself speaking to someone who is responding in English. I had to yell at one of the kids that live with my mom to stop speaking English to me. I had to tell my sister that it’s a shame that her children born in Lagos cannot speak Igbo. Her response was "ah, na so ibi." What did she mean by that? We were born and raised in Lagos where we spoke Igbo, Pigeon English, Yoruba and some Hausa because we had a Malam that lived in our yard and now, I should clap my hands because na so ibi? I let her know my disappointment.

As the article which prompted this stated – the Igbos’ are very resilient and we MUST rise against evil. To the kidnappers, I say put yourselves in the place of the kidnapped victim. Just visualize you mama, papa or any beloved relative being in the hands of a kidnapper. If you do this, maybe, you will distance yourself from this callous act.

My people, the Igbo people, you MUST rise up and deal with these issues facing us. The elders cannot continue to turn the other way any longer. It’s no longer fashionable and acceptable. Time has come and you must speak up. The titled men (Chiefs) must rise up to their title. Your title cannot continue to be for decorative and intimidating purposes only anymore. We must stop condoning evil. We must ask our sons and daughters what their means of income is. We must respectfully challenge one another. We must begin to forgive each other in order to move on. Let’s stop the rhetoric and start getting something done. Let us not ROAST those that speak the truth.

And must of all, we must start working for the community at large and not our individual gain. Throughout history the Igbo people have endured a lot and I know God will deliver us from this and other atrocities plaguing us.

I love being Igbo and I look forward to the day our Igbo land can be restored to normalcy.

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